This is the dramatic moment a brave cheetah mum jumped to the defence of her cubs when they were attacked by an aggressive male.
These incredible images show the exact moment the male approached the family of four and the protective mum jumped into action while her three cubs hid behind her.
Photographer, Daryl Dell, captured the extraordinary moment on camera while visiting Phinda Private Game Reserves in Mziki Marsh.
The 39-year-old said: “The mother and her cubs were all lying peacefully about 50 metres apart.
“They were very still and submissive just waiting for the male to move off. A dazzle of zebra came into the scene with a young foal that he eventually chased with no success.
“At this stage the female and her cubs thought that he had gone but he stalked back to her unbeknown to them and then attacked them.
“This could have happened for many reasons, one could be for the competition of food, especially in these dry times, maybe he was unsure of which cheetah are in his home range and his preferred areas and felt threatened.
“There is a very good chance that the cubs are in fact his but as cheetah are not territorial he is probably unaware as to whether they are and males don’t have any loyalty or relationships with their cubs anyway.
“The cubs felt very threatened but the best protection is to stay behind their mother which they did here and remained unharmed.
“It was a truly phenomenal spectacle, it’s not often that we get to see sighting like this, even though Phinda offers some of the best cheetah viewing there is.
“This is the second time I have seen this male harassing the female but the first time she was on her own.
“The first time it looked as though he was actually stalking prey and we rushed over to see if he would hunt when we realised he was stalking her.
“He chased her as though he was hunting and they connected in the woodland where she defended herself for about 10 minutes and had to lie and wait for a further half an hour before he lost interest and moved off.
“Luckily the cubs at this stage were a lot younger as they could have lost their lives in such a fight.”